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MG MGA - Front Brake shoe lining thickness

Coming back to this thorny issue. I have read info on Barneys site and comments in the archives and thought you may be interested in my experience to get over the problem.

I have the original riveted brake shoes lined with 4mm friction material. As it was set up, it took 11 clicks on the front adjuster and 10 clicks on the rear adjuster to get contact with the brake drum (common problem). This has always 'ground my gears' as the braking was mediocre at best and I'm not into welding bits of metal or putting in spacers.

Cut a long story short, I measured the ID of the drum 254mm (10ins as expected) and the OD of the brake shoes fully retracted in situ on the car minus the friction material and got 242mm = 12mm difference. I then found one of those wonderful old guys locally who knows everything there is to know about friction lining and got him to make up a set with 6mm friction lining from a company called Pagid (German I think). Result: they fitted perfectly, I have one click on the front adjuster and no click on the rear which lines up with the original reading. The brakes are now near perfect and should get better when bedded in. This should work even if you have had the drums skimmed.

Amazing the difference 2mm can make.

Anyway, I'm a happy bunny hope this is of interest.

Best to you all

AR Terry

Alan, you should order a bunch and sell them on!
Art Pearse

Or perhaps replace the original worn-out drums?
Just a thought, Barry
BM Gannon

Yeah, maybe I'm missing a trick here Art.

Barry, drums aren't worn, 10ins is as per original spec. Its the friction lining that was wrong.

AR Terry

Having some recent experience with this issue, I don't think it is the lining that is wrong. My MGA rear brakes were recently at end of adjustment range, and were worn enough that the hand brake would no longer work. But the linings were less than half worn, nowhere near metal to metal contact. Prior shoes lasted 160,000 miles on the rear and were work pretty thin. The last set lasted 60,000 miles, got too far out of adjustment, and were less than half worn at the time.

I just installed new shoes so the hand brake would work again, but with this condition the shoes will always have to be thrown out before half used up. Or maybe move partially worn rear shoes to the front when installing new shoes at the rear. I think the steel part of the shoe is too short end to end, having effect similar to oversize drums (when the drums are not oversize).

Yes, installing thicker linings on these new shoes will make them adjust properly when new, and will give them a normal useful life. But they will still end up useless with lots of lining still remaining.

This thread was discussed between 22/08/2015 and 24/08/2015

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